Meditation is a relaxation technique that people use to improve their physical and mental well being. When someone meditates, it usually affects their brainwaves and causes them to feel calmer and more content. Due to this, some doctors recommend meditation for depression to their patients. The advantages of using meditation for depression include a reduced need for drugs and happier, more productive days. Another advantage, for both patients and doctors, is that there are no known side effects from meditating. Consequently, depression sufferers can practice meditation in conjunction with other treatments they receive.
People suffering from depression experience numerous symptoms, such as low energy, sadness, suicidal thoughts and sleeping disorders. Many people experiencing depression consult therapists or psychiatrists for treatment, once their symptoms start to hinder their daily lives – particularly with regards to child care or holding down a job. Conventional treatments for depression include anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy. People who use meditation for depression alongside (or instead of) these treatments often enjoy a better quality of life, and find it easier to cope during periods when their symptoms are noticeably severe.
How Using Meditation for Depression Works in Practice
Repeating positive affirmations for depression can be as easy as sitting quietly, breathing deeply and relaxing. Typically, meditation is more beneficial if practitioners lie on their backs, or sit up straight. A quiet and dark room (either in a therapist’s office or at home) is the perfect place for meditation. Some people opt to shut their eyes when they mediate as well.
Positive speaking and/or praying during meditation is popular with many practitioners. Mantra Meditation is a type of meditation where practitioners focus on an individually selected or prescribed mantra. For instance, a mantra like: “May I be content, may I be healthy, may I be free from pain” would be repeated silently, or aloud, throughout the meditation session. Over time, these words should have a positive impact on a person’s emotional state. Certain breathing techniques are frequently used with different mantras. Movement Meditation is a form of meditation that features gentle flowing movements and breathing to produce a meditative state. Types of tai chi, qigong and yoga are all examples of this form of meditation.
When prescribed as a treatment, meditation for depression should be performed consistently as possible. Although attempting to meditate during severe episodes of anxiety or depression can be beneficial, the technique works better if patients make it part of their daily schedule. Usually, if patients set aside just quarter of an hour each evening or morning to practice meditation, it can reduce the number of anxiety attacks they experience over the long term.
Mindfulness Meditation for Depression
Mindfulness meditation for depression has become a popular treatment over recent years. This is a type of meditation that encourages patients to ‘live in the moment’ and be more aware of their surroundings, to prevent thoughts from escalating out of control. In an extensive meta assessment of thirty-nine clinical studies, researchers at Boston University discovered that mindful based therapies had a positive impact on clinically diagnosed depression sufferers, and people with everyday mood and anxiety problems. Another study also found that using mindfulness meditation for depression allows people to reduce their dependence on anti-depressant drugs. One group of test subjects continued maintenance antidepressants, whereas another group of participants reduced their medication consumption, while receiving training in mindfulness meditation. After six months, three quarters of the people trained in mindfulness meditation had stopped taking their medication completely. Moreover, they had a better quality of life and lower relapse rates than those on maintenance antidepressants.
Why Using Meditation for Depression is so Effective
It is not entirely clear why using meditation for depression works so well in many cases, however researchers have put forward various theories. Mindfulness is thought to facilitate body awareness, attention regulation, changes in self-perception (for example, decentering) and emotional regulation, which all might play a part in depression. MRI studies have demonstrated that, on a biological basis, meditation can reduce activity that occurs in the amygdala and the default mode network. The amygdala is the area of the brain that regulates stress responses. The default mode network is a network in the brain that is stimulated when a person’s mind jumps from one thought to another. This has been linked to feelings of stress and unhappiness.
When patients use meditation for depression properly, they invariably stop paying attention to all the negative thoughts going through their minds, and concentrate solely on the harmony that remains. Although meditation does not work for everyone, many patients experience enough success with it to enable them to stop taking drugs to control their anxiety. Meditation can be a beneficial adjunct to any treatment you are presently using for overcoming depression.